Reporter Goes Undercover to Work on the iPhone 5 at Foxconn Plant

“...who on earth wants to work two extra hours overtime for only mere 27 yuan?”

A news reporter from Shanghai was able to get a job at Foxconn, the giant electronics assembler making Apple’s iPhones and iPads. The reporter personally “marked” thousands of iPhone 5 back plates. He later reported that the work there is almost inhumane.

MIC Gadget has a translation of a report from the Shanghai Evening Post which reveals that a reporter got a job at Foxconn to be one of the thousands of people building the iPhone 5.

The whole thing was so that he could go undercover.

He said, “By my own calculations, I have to mark five iPhone plates every minute, at least. For every 10 hours, I have to accomplish 3,000 iPhone 5 back plates.”

The reporter said there were 4 production lines in charge of this process, with 12 workers in every line. “Each line can produce 36,000 iPhone 5 back plates in half a day, this is scary,” he said.

He recalled an episode where the managers asked the workers to put in extra hours.

“I finally stopped working at 7 a.m. We were asked to gather again after work. The supervisor shout out loud in front of us: “Who wants to rest early at 5 a.m !? We are all here to earn money ! Let’s work harder !” I was thinking who on earth wants to work two extra hours overtime for only mere 27 yuan (USD$4) !?”

While some regard this as the same negligence that was widely reported months ago, we should stress that the work is voluntary.

It’s no secret that some Foxconn facilities are, in all senses, modern sweatshops. You don’t just erase this image by bringing in a counselor to occasionally talk to employees about their problems. The work is still painstakingly difficult.

But everyone needs to put bread on the table. For many workers, the pay is acceptable. Otherwise, why would they come in to work every day?

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